Objectives: Respiratory disease remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in China. However, little is known about the research status of respirology in three major regions of China—Mainland (ML), Hong Kong (HK) and Taiwan (TW). A 10-year survey of literature was conducted to compare the three regions’ outputs in the research of respirology. Design: A bibliometric study. Setting: China. Participants and outcome measures: A literature search in PubMed database, updated as of September 2012, led to the identification of the related articles from 2000 to 2009. The number of total articles, randomised controlled trials, case reports, meta-analysis, impact factors (IF), citations and articles published in top general medicine journals was collected for quantity and quality comparisons. Results: 2208 articles were collected, 814 from ML, 909 from TW and 485 from HK. The total number of articles from the three regions has increased significantly from 2000 to 2009. The number of articles published per year from ML has exceeded that from HK in 2005 and TW in 2008. The accumulated IF of articles from TW (3192.417) was much higher than that from ML (2409.956) and HK (1898.312). HK got the highest average IF of respirology articles and the majority of articles were published in top general medicine journals. Conclusions: The total number of published articles from the three major regions of China has increased notably from 2000 to 2009. The annual number of publications by ML researchers exceeded those from TW and HK. However, the quality of articles from TW and HK is better than that from ML.